Please welcome my mom as she share her memories about one of her favorite special occasion foods: Orange Jell-O Salad!
Orange Jell-O Salad and the Little Church on the Prairie
I was four years old when my parents moved us out of the only home I had ever known. We moved 1800 miles away from everything and everyone I knew. My dad had gone to a Bible institute and prepared to be a pastor and that was where the church who called him was located.
We had lived in my grandparents’ home in a suburb of Philadelphia. Their front door faced on a street with many homes and neighbors; their back door looked out on a Jewish cemetery and every Sunday Hebrew families dressed in their best dutifully came to visit the graves of their deceased. My life was full of people who knew me, and whom I knew. If I picked a neighbor’s flowers, my grandmother, who cared for me during the day, knew it before my little red trike rolled back into the yard.
Pleasant Heights, Colorado was a small farming community 40 miles from the nearest town. The daily dust storms kept my mother busy. In our yard we had tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Under the house we had a storm cellar in case of tornadoes. But there were some gorgeous sunsets and rainbows.
The only buildings as far as I could see were the parsonage where we lived, the little church on one side of us, and the one-room schoolhouse on the other. Oh, and the two outhouses on the school grounds. They were three-seaters; one for the boys and one for the girls. I remember my mom lamenting that all she could see was miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.
Pleasant Heights Baptist Church’s congregation couldn’t have exceeded 30 people. Maybe thirty-one after my brother was born. But those farm people took good care of us. One lady had us over to eat one Easter Sunday. I suppose there was ham. But the pièce de résistance was the Rice Salad. There was just something…dare I say it…addictive… about that combination of orange Jell-O, cooked rice, grated carrots and pineapple in a Miracle Whip dressing.
My daughter who can’t eat anything makes it for me regularly on holidays or just for when the family gets together. ‘Cause she’s good like that. Here is the recipe:
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely grated carrots
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 small box of orange Jell-O
2 cups of hot water
When the above gelatin mixture begins to set, fold in ½ cup of Miracle Whip. Leave in refrigerator until firm.